This paper presents a gradient-based multi-component topology optimization (MTO) method for structures assembled from components made by powder bed additive manufacturing. It is built upon our previous work on the continuously-relaxed MTO framework utilizing the concept of fractional component membership. The previous attempt on the integration of the relaxed MTO framework with additive manufacturing constraints, however, suffered from numerical instability for larger size problems, limiting its application to 2D low-resolution examples. To overcome this difficulty, this paper proposes an improved MTO formulation based on a design field regularization and a nonlinear projection of component membership variables, with a focus on powder bed additive manufacturing. For each component, constraints on the maximum allowable build volume (i.e., length, width, and height), the elimination of enclosed voids, and the minimum printable feature size are imposed during the simultaneous optimization of the overall base topology and component partitioning. The scalability of the new MTO formulation is demonstrated by a few 2D examples with much higher resolution than previously reported, and the first reported 3D example of MTO.

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